Gear Review: United By Blue Bison Snap Jacket and Trail Socks

We get excited when we hear of outdoor brands that are not only innovating, but have made sustainability and preserving the beauty of the outdoors a priority. United By Blue is one of them.

United By Blue is a young company but is doing some remarkable things. As a certified B Corp, they have to prove each year that they put people and the planet before profits, and a couple of their initiatives really make them stand out.

First, is their mission: for every product sold, they remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways. To date, they have removed over 1.5 million pounds of trash. Plus, it’s a mission that they encourage others to share in. On their website, you can sign up to join them on one of their cleanups.

The other thing that makes United By Blue unique is in order to have the least impact on the environment, they use materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester from plastic bottles.

They recently launched a collection of jackets and vests using a very interesting insulation material: bison down.

Huck Adventures reviews: United By Blue Bison Snap Jacket.
United By Blue Bison Snap Jacket. Photo by Andrew Patra.

Bison down usually ends up in landfills as a bi-product of the ranching industry. United By Blue, however, acquires the material before it gets there, combs and cleans it, and blends it with recycled polyester for an amazingly lightweight and warm material that they call BisonShield.

Bison down is naturally hypoallergenic, moisture wicking, and provides superior warmth while regulating temperature. It’s the same natural properties that let bison survive cold winters instead of migrating.

United By Blue gave us a bison jacket and a pair of their merino wool socks to test out and share our review.

Women’s Bison Snap Jacket

Huck Adventures reviews: United By Blue Bison Snap Jacket.
Photo by Andrew Patra

The Bison Snap Jacket was truly a pleasant surprise. I don’t typically wear clothing made from animal by-products, so I didn’t know what to expect. Other than the bison tag on the inside, you couldn’t tell the jacket was insulated with bison down.

This is the perfect jacket for spring, fall or a mild winter day, since it’s suited for 32 to 70 degree weather. And I found it surprisingly warm for how thin it is.

I’m 5’2 and typically wear size medium jackets, and I felt like it was true to size and the right cut for my medium build and still allowed room for layering underneath. It reminded me of my favorite jean jacket, where it can be a bit stiff and restrictive at first when stretching or crossing my arms, but it didn’t bother me after a couple days of breaking in the jacket.

Huck Adventures reviews: United By Blue Bison Snap Jacket. Photo by Andrew Patra.
Photo by Andrew Patra.

The look and style of this jacket is versatile and has a dressier feel than a utility or sports jacket. Its warmth, weather proof material, and deep pockets made it great for a hike, but it’s cut, style, and space for adjustable layering made it the perfect jacket when I traveled from Denver to Phoenix for a work trip. And the color they chose for this one is a particularly gorgeous shade of blue that I loved.

Trail Sock

Huck Adventures reviews: United By Blue Trail Sock.
United By Blue Trail Sock. Photo by Andrew Patra.

I also got to test United By Blue’s unisex Trail Socks and found them amazingly comfortable when compared to other merino wool hikers.

I have a wide foot and have experienced socks from other brands that end up being tight and restrictive. And having the right sock for your activity is just as important as your shoes. Keeping your feet comfortable is all about choosing the right fabric, length, and features.

United By Blue’s Trail Socks are made from merino wool and are extremely soft. They were super cozy when just hanging out at home. Plus, on hikes and trail-runs they were very breathable, warm, and comfortable. My foot was able to flex and bend in them without feeling encumbered by any rigidity.

At only $14 a pair, I’ll definitely be adding more of these to my sock drawer.

Please note that United By Blue is an affiliate to Huck Adventures, and at no additional cost to you, Huck earns a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the links above.

Gear Review: Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 4.0

Huck Adventures reviews: Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 4.0
Photo by Andrew Patra

After moving to Colorado, I knew I needed to up my hydration game on the local trails. Over the past several years of training, I usually brought water anytime I exceeded eight miles (roughly an hour). But knowing that my training goals were shifting toward ultras and that my elevation gain was increasing in a drier climate, I knew that I needed a change.

In the past, I had owned a hydration vest that could only carry a bladder in the back, but it was difficult to clean and maintain. I had also owned a waist belt that carried two hard, plastic bottles, but it bounced and over time was uncomfortable. Plus, it didn’t have enough room to carry a phone, keys, or fuel.

Two years ago, I started looking for a fanny pack to carry my over-sized phone during lunchtime runs from the office. After trying out several different brands and models, I came across Ultimate Direction and fell in love with their waist belts and the story behind their product design.

Ultimate Innovation

Ultimate Direction (UD) has been innovating the hydration pack category for over 30-years; creating award-winning hydration vests, handhelds, and belts. They were also the first company to offer a women’s specific hydration pack.

Huck Adventures reviews: Running with the Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 4.0
Photo by Andrew Patra

Their products are designed by athletes for the self-propelled runner, skier, climber, fast packer, or obstacle course racer. If you follow them on social media, you’ll see athletes in their office testing the products long before they go into final production.

Mountain Vest 4.0

When they launched their 4.0 Signature Series in Spring 2018, I was quick to pick up the Mountain Vest 4.0. It was one of their larger hydration vests, but I knew that I wanted something that would support me for both shorter summer runs when I would need just a few essential items and longer mountain runs fully loaded with gear.

I found the Mountain Vest 4.0 light and versatile. For shorter runs, I would typically carry one of the soft flasks in the front for on-the-go hydration, while stashing my phone in the other pocket.

Huck Adventures reviews: Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 4.0 and Bobo Bars. Great combination.
Photo by Andrew Patra

The front of the vest has several smaller pockets with easy to open with zippers or velcro, which can hold keys, gels, salt tablets, or chapstick. There are also two zipper pockets on the side of the vest that are large enough for a phone or additional fuel. On the front, there are trekking pole straps, but I’ve had issues keeping my Leki trekking poles in them during longer mountain runs.

In the rear of the bag is a large compartment with a thin partition to help with organization or can hold up to a two-liter water bladder. The other side of the partition is large, perfect for carrying additional clothing, food, microspikes, etc.

Huck Adventures reviews: Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 4.0
Photo by Andrew Patra

On the very back of the vest is a quick-stash compartment for easy access. It’s where I typically put my windshell.

I’ve used this pack for trail-running, but I’ve also used it for bike commutes into Boulder for work. The compartment in the back is large enough to keep a change of clothes, while the quick-stash area can hold shoes.

It wasn’t until months of use that I discovered that the pack had a hidden whistle. I wasn’t sure of the scenario I would need it in until I stumbled upon a black bear scavenging for apples at the bottom of Green Mountain. The build of the pack made it easy enough to quickly access the whistle to scare the bear off the trail (and access my phone for a few pictures of my new friend).

Huck Adventures reviews: Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 4.0
Photo by Andrew Patra

The vest’s materials are soft, thin, light, and extremely comfortable. It’s easy to adjust the fit, depending on how much you’ve packed into it.

Sizes come in small, medium, and large. I am 5’11” and 175 lbs. I’m right on the edge of a Large, but I ended up purchasing a Medium and am happy with the way it sizes.


Huck Adventures reviews: Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 4.0
Photo by Andrew Patra

I’m a big fan of the Mountain Vest 4.0. UD continues to innovate in this category and although I know this vest will last several years, I can’t help but drool over their new product releases.

Product Review: Theragun G3PRO

Huck Adventures reviews: Theragun G3PRO Percussive Therapy
Photo by Andrew Patra

One of my favorite booths at Outdoor Retailer is Theragun. After walking the show for countless hours with a heavy backpack, a few minutes of percussive therapy provides lasting relief for my tense and tired muscles.

After seeing them at Outdoor Retailer for the first time last summer, I started seeing Theraguns all over my social media feed. Professional athletes were using it for recovery during training and sport therapists were using them during their patient sessions.

All this coverage made me curious. I’ve committed to train for some local ultramarathons and have been upping my mileage and the difficulty of the terrain. Could using the Theragun help me recover faster and improve my performance? I reached out to Theragun, and they loaned me one to put to the test.  

Theragun G3PRO

The Theragun G3PRO is a hand-held device that combines frequency, torque, and 16 mm amplitude to release muscle tension, improve mobility, decrease pain, and aid in overall recovery. It looks like a power tool rather than your average massager, and it is powerful.

Huck Adventures reviews: Theragun G3PRO Percussive Therapy
Photo by Andrew Patra

Inside the shell is an industrial-grade motor; strong enough to withstand 60 pounds of pressure without stalling. The motor provides 16 mm amplitude with a fast 40-percussions-per second on an easily-adjustable arm that can reach any sore muscle. While testing, I was able to reach a tough spot on my back that I would normally use an unhelpful foam roller on. After 20 seconds on that spot, I felt back to normal.

For the latest iteration of the Theragun, they worked with mechanical and sound engineers from MIT to design the gearbox and state-of-the-art sound insulation to reduce the noise by more than 50 percent compared to the G2PRO.

The G3PRO’s standard treatment operates at a frequency of 2400 RPM; high enough to encourage nerves to close to painful input, preventing pain from traveling through the nervous system. For the first time in their product’s history, TheraGun introduced a second speed for lighter treatment: 1750 RPM.

The G3PRO comes with two Samsung lithium-ion 4 cell, 2.5 amp batteries. A single battery, full charged, will last 75 minutes.

Huck Adventures reviews: Theragun G3PRO Percussive Therapy
Photo by Andrew Patra

They also improved the G3PRO attachments by molding them in closed cell PU foam. Sweat, lotions, and oils can be easily wiped off, making the attachments more hygenic. During long-run recovery sessions, I was able to switch out the attachments easily, making the therapy session more efficient and effective.

The various attachments provide a variety of different uses. The larger soft heads can be used on larger muscles groups, while the smaller, angular heads can be used to target smaller areas.

Testing Results

Normally I would feel muscle tightness for 6-8 hours after a long run. If I was sitting for prolonged periods, the muscle tightness would be worse. I would also usually have some soreness the following morning.

I started using the Theragun for 10-15 minutes after each run on each major muscle group in  my legs. It was amazing how much my time in recovery shifted. I was able to easily increase my mileage without feeling horrible. In fact, I felt great—even when I did two runs a day. I was getting out for longer distances more times a week and felt like my goal of an ultramarathon was easily attainable.

One of our other product testers came by to use the Theragun. She was complaining of sore muscles in the back of her legs after an intense yoga session. I had her use the Theragun on one of her legs. Afterwards, she stood up and bent over to touch her toes, issuing a “Holy cow!” over the limberness of the Theragunned leg versus the other.

A week later, another product tester, our mountaineer Grant, went on a trail run with me and used the Theragun for his recovery; using it on his legs and some other sore spots. He was immediately a fan, commenting about how he usually spends $150-$200 a month on massages to help him on his recovery, but the Theragun worked faster and better and was more cost-effective.

Needless to say, we are super bummed that our two-week trial of the Theragun has ended


Theragun G3PRO Percussive Therapy
Photo by Andrew Patra

The Theragun provides amazing muscle percussive therapy that any outdoor enthusiast or adventure athlete should welcome into their lives. Sure, it’s expensive, but if you run a cost-benefit analysis comparing it against chiropractor and massage therapist bills, it easily wins.

As we’re returning our media loan, we’re already talking about buying one for our active team to use. One of the benefits of Theragun is that they offer an installment plan to spread out the payments.

It’s an amazing piece of tech to have in your gear closet, and I don’t think you’ll regret buying one.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON HATS At Outdoor Retailer Winter Market

Sunday Afternoon Hats, a family business, recently celebrated their 25th year of outfitting outdoor lovers across the world. At Huck, our team has been wearing and loving their products, especially their Artist Series Trucker. So, at Outdoor Retailer Winter Show, we were excited to talk to Meadow Lacy, EVP Sales, about their products and some of the products featured at OR.

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BOOT BANANAS “This product is bananas”

Their design might be a little bit bananas, but their product works: getting rid of that funky stench in your rock climbing shoes. Originally from the U.K., they are making their U.S. debut later this year.

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Visit and sign up. Beta launching January, 2019.

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